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Bachmann's isle visit focuses on repeal of health reform

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 2:58 a.m. HST, Feb 3, 2011

Sidestepping a question about her political aspirations in 2012, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said her mission in visiting early primary states in the coming months is to keep a focus on the Republican Party's message of restoring limited government and repealing the president's health-care reform law.

Without committing to a run for higher office in two years, the Minnesota Republican and chairwoman of the House tea party caucus said she feels the country needs a strong constitutional conservative to undo government takeover of private companies such as banks, insurers and even General Motors.

"Whoever our new president is, if we want to go back to a limited view of government, we have to dismantle this Tinkertoy set that has been put up of government ownership of private industry," she said.

She cited last year's sweeping health-care reform bill as what she believes will be the signature issue of the 2012 campaign.

"I believe with every fiber of my being that we will repeal Obamacare," she told a wildly supportive crowd of about 200 at the Ala Moana Hotel yesterday.

"As we look at our nominees for president and vice president, you've got to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are going to elect a cat that is going to stick on this repeal of Obamacare no matter what, because that person could end up being a one-term president," she added. "So what? If we can repeal Obamacare, it will be worth it to make that happen."

Bachmann was in Hawaii yesterday speaking to tea party supporters on Oahu and Maui as she crisscrosses the country for speaking engagements and fueling speculation of a presidential run in 2012.

Following her rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last week, Bachmann visited Iowa — where the nation's first presidential caucuses are held — and then California. She is scheduled to speak Saturday at the Montana GOP's Lincoln-Reagan dinner.

She also plans stops in New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early primary states to deliver her message of trying to limit the reach of government and thwarting the president's agenda.

Bachmann spoke yesterday to a group convened by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a think tank that promotes limited government. Institute President Jamie Story said it was the organization's largest event, with the $35 tickets selling out in two days.

"I think you see the movement growing," Story said.

Using some of the same slides from her State of the Union rebuttal, Bachmann criticized what she described as liberal Demo- crats' tax-and-spend policies. Those policies, she said, have contributed to the country's largest deficit in history, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $1.5 trillion in 2011 if current laws remain unchanged.

Without advocating for a specific plan, Bachmann discussed tax proposals that Congress could consider, including a flat tax rate or a straight consumption tax, also known as a national sales tax.

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